What is Baptism?
First and foremost, Christ’s death and resurrection ensures: forgiveness of our sins, escape from the wrath of God, and our fellowship forever with Him. The physical act of baptism does not save us; baptism is not a work that ensures heaven for us; baptism is an outward physical act that symbolizes a previous transformation by the power of Christ. This transformation was not a work that we accomplished. We simply, and wholly, believe that Christ died for our sins. This means that we have seen, by the washing and regeneration of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5), the beauty of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4-6) and have trusted (believed) that Jesus died in our place for the forgiveness of our sins and restoration of fellowship with God (1 Peter 3:18, “that He might bring us to God.”).
1. Baptism is commanded by Jesus, Matthew 28:19-20.
2. Baptism conveys in a fashion that can be seen, in dramatic and felt ways, a believer’s bond and union with Christ, in the same way that wedding rings convey our union with our spouse, Romans 6:3-4.
3. Baptism is by complete immersion in water, Acts 8:37-38.
4. Baptism is performed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - the divine Trinity.
In baptism we ask God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, to come and infuse our baptism with spiritual encouragement and proclamation. When we call on God in baptism, we proclaim our dependence upon Him and honor Him.
5. Baptism is for true believers only.
Baptism is an expression of the faith of the one being baptized. It is not something that an unbeliever can do. It is not something than an infant can do.
6. Baptism nourishes and confirms our faith. The day of our baptism should be remembered for the rest of our life. The “felt” waters (we are totally immersed in water, we get wet!) and proclamation of faith in the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, play a crucial role in assuring us that we belong to God.
7. Baptism portrays Christ as crucified and risen, and is therefore a massive encouragement to all who know Christ and witness our baptism.